Stephen R. Covey’s famous book 7 Habits for Highly Effective People is by far one of my favorite books. It’s been one of my favorites since I was a young girl. It is a book that will transform your life. In short, the 7 habits are:
- Be proactive
- Begin with the end in mind
- Put first things first
- Think win/win
- Seek first to understand . . . Then to be understood
- Sharpen the saw
For myself, I believe the first habit is the most important. A person cannot begin with the end in mind without being proactive, they cannot put first things first if they are not proactive. These habits build on one another, and we wouldn’t be able to accomplish anything without being proactive. If we expect life to just turn out and get what we want out of life simply because we want it we will be sorely disappointed when life doesn’t go the way we want. It takes motivation to take action and to be a self-starter.
From summaries.com the summary on Stephen R. Covey’s book it states, “Proactive people develop many ways to educate themselves, or use the external discipline of systemized study programs. It is extremely valuable to train the mind to stand apart and examine its own program. It is also
valuable to read broadly and to expose yourself to the thoughts of great minds. Reading good books on a regular basis broadens your outlook on life.” (9)
Great minds are not going to come to you and tell you what you need to do to be able to achieve your goals and be successful. It isn’t someone else’s job to make sure you’re progressing and moving forward in life once you’re out of elementary or junior high. As a child grows into adolescence there is a shift from their parents and teachers telling them what to do and helping them achieve what they need to. To them being responsible for how they spend their time.
How the concept and practice of these 7 habits fill my life with passion:
No one is holding my hand telling me what to do. There isn’t a road map or an app to tell me what I need to do next. By being proactive it will propel me towards success, being proactive is essential to being able to achieve anything in life. Starting something with the end in mind allows you to be able to stay focused and it makes being proactive more efficient.
“It’s easy to be busy without being effective, to score many hollow victories at the expense of critical events. We may be very busy, we may
even be very efficient, but we will only be truly effective when we begin with an end in mind.” (5)
This leads to the third habit which is to put first things first. How are we to know which things should be put first? Well, that’s simple it’s by first starting with the end in mind. This gives a more clear path to follow and we know what needs to be done in order to achieve the end results we want. Along the way, there will be private victories through habits 1-3, because they are focused on what you can do to see results down the road.
The next couple of habits are where you will start to see more public victories. By being in a win/win mind frame you are living with integrity because with a win/win mindset not only are you thinking about your goals and needs but you’re also thinking about other people’s needs. People will see this strength in you and value you more because you care about other people and not just yourself.
Seek to understand then to be understood
In business and relationships, this is a very important skill to hone. Too often people just listen to be able to reply. But this can cause tension, communication issues, and misunderstandings. When we try to understand it reduces the number of misunderstandings and enables us to be more successful.
For myself, in owning my own business and working with clients it’s essential to understand their needs and concerns to be able to accurately fulfill projects.
“When you communicate synergistically, you are opening your
mind and heart to new possibilities, new alternatives and new
options. You create something entirely new that is better than you
ever thought it could be.” (8)
Being able to synergize is incredibly important for keeping your life and business both in balance. Being synergized with the people around you means being on the same page which wouldn’t be possible without having the prior habit to understand before being understood. These allow open communication and growth to take place.
Sharpen the Saw
“Habit 7 is taking time to sharpen the saw. In other words, don’t get
so busy sawing that you don’t realize you are using a blunt saw.
Take the time on a regular basis to sharpen your saw in the
physical, spiritual, mental and social or emotional dimensions.” (8)
It’s important to not be so hyper-focused on a goal that other aspects of your life start slipping because that will affect whatever goal you are trying to reach. It’s important to still have a social life, make time for spiritual things, exercise, and continue to learn. These things will help keep your saw sharp and as a result, you will see more success in your life in both public victories and private victories.